In this Korean piece, a folk art piece from the 15th century, we see a whimsical design of fish that, in fact, makes a sophisticated use of positive and negative shapes. The surface of the stoneware vessel was coated with a thick white slip (a clay in a liquid state), done while the vessel, itself, was still damp, semi-soft clay. A sharp tool was then used to draw the design on the surface, with the tool cutting away a line in the white surface slip, revealing the darker clay of the vessel body beneath the slip. The piece was then glazed with a clear (transparent) glaze that would reveal the pattern under the glaze after firing. Although the glaze is clear, after firing it has a pale greenish color. This color comes from the presence of iron oxide in the glaze, which may have been added to the glaze before application or it may be iron from the dark, iron rich clay body used to make the piece. In the latter case, the iron would be pulled into the glaze during the firing process, which would be done in a wood-burning kiln with the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide creating the cool, greenish iron color (in the presence of a clear burning flame, iron oxide would produce a different palette of colors, ranging from tan to a sienna orange -kaki color in Japan- to the black of temmoku glazes). It is this particular greenish iron color that gives these Korean wares their name, punchâ€™ong. The thick potting of this piece identifies it as the product of a rural, folk art kiln; this was not created as a â€œwork of art.â€ -- Bequest of Russell Tyson, 1964.936
Tea leaf storage jar, of modest size (perhaps 12" tall) but strongly articulated as a form. Unglazed stoneware with strong fire markings, characteristic of Bizen ware. Rice straw soaked in sea water salt brine was draped across the form as it was placed in the kiln; at the peak temperatures of the firing, the salt brine would volatilize and combine with the silica in the clay to form an "accidental" natural glaze. This procedure probably was followed initially as a means to keep pieces from fusing to one another in the firing, by separating them with high silica content rice straw, but with the discovery of the result of soaking the straw in brine, it became a frequent decorative technique on Bizen ware. Museum Purchase B67P10
This Fresh water jar ("mizusashi") is a tea ceremony vessel, an example of Iga ware, a style of vessel created in Mie Prefecture and valued highly by tea masters. Approximately 9 or 10 inch tall, wheel thrown using a light stoneware clay body, fired in a wood fueled kiln with resulting flashing coloration and some natural ash glaze deposits. The black lid of the jar is lacquer, rather than clay, as was frequently the case with tea vessels. The soft clay was manipulated, probably while the piece was still on the potter's wheel, deliberately deforming the piece slightly, which has the effect of emphasizing the soft, malleable nature of the material before it is fired.
Bottle, stoneware. In this example, the decorative technique employed was quite different from the other two Bundheong ware bottles shown here. In this instance, the surface of the piece was stamped with a pattern, perhaps made of fired clay. The surface of the piece was then coated with white slip (porcelain), including the impressed pattern elements. The surface was then scraped clean of the white slip, revealing the darker underlying clay, while the white clay remained in the indentations stamped into the surface, creating the contrasting pattern of light and dark that we see here. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P388
Bottle, thrown and faceted. The piece is porcelain with characters drawn on the surface with an underglaze cobalt slip or pigment. -- The Avery Brundage Collection, B64P30
Porcelain jar with underglaze cobalt decoration, wisteria design. Imari-type Arita ware. (The Avery Brundage Collection, B67P7)
Large spherical jar of the sort known as a "Moon" jar. The museum label comments, these jars "...were loved by Korean people not only because of their white color, which was suggestive of Confucian virtues, but also because the form was thought to represent the fertility and gentle, embracing qualities associated with women during the Joseon dynasty." This example presents an interesting comparison with the jar presented in file ecasia000358, another "Moon" jar from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The one in Chicago has a more matte glaze surface, while this one has a transparent glaze. The difference in the glaze may be the result of placement in different locations in a kiln, with the matte surface possibly resulting from a slightly cooler temperature and the transparent glaze from a slightly higher temperature, as might result at the different ends of a tube kiln. (The Avery Brundage collection, B60P110+ )
This print and five following are from a series of 21 night scenes published by Nishinomiya Y?saku of the Hasegawa publishing house between 1910 and 1920. They are fine examples of Shin-hanga â€œNew Printmaking,â€ a movement reviving the studio/workshop methodology of earlier ukiyo-e. All the works are darkly inked, indicating night settings, and feature bokashi techniques to create atmospheric effects. Like most of the others, this print shows a traditional subjectâ€”a woman of the entertainment world walking to an assignmentâ€”with a subtle reference to Hiroshige in the firewatcherâ€™s ladder and bell in the distance.